Revisiting the works of Emily Carr inspired more than just a poetry prize for Oak Bay resident Anne Hopkinson.
Specifically, she revisited Carr’s books Klee Wyck and The House of All Sorts, in preparation for a poetry contest launched by Victoria’s poet laureate John Barton.
The Emily Carr 150 Poetry Contest was all about the city’s famed artist and writer. Hopkinson won with her poem Woman of the Woods, from more than 60 poems submitted by writers from across the Capital Region.
“She speaks in her own voice. She has a really strong voice, so it was easier for me to write the poem I wrote because her voice is so strong in those books,” Hopkinson said.
“I came across two words, rebel and revel. Those two verbs were the whole basis of my poem, because that was her life.”
Hopkinson writes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. Her work has appeared most recently in Refugium (Caitlin Press) and The Sky is Falling (Goldfinch Press, and Old Bones and Battered Bookends (Repartee Press).
She won the 2018 Victoria Writers’ Society Creative Non-Fiction Contest and the 2019 Canadian Stories Poetry Prize. She was also shortlisted for the Federation of BC Writers Poetry Prize in 2019 and in the Federation of BC Writers’ BC and Yukon Short Fiction Prize in 2020.
While she has been writing for 10 or 15 years, Hopkinson said the poet in her emerged when she moved to Greater Victoria in 2014.
“Planet Earth Poetry was my best find when I moved here,” Hopkinson said. She’s now president of the board for the organization that hosts live readings on Friday nights. The welcoming group affords guests a place to hear great poets, and offers a wonderful way for emerging poets to get started, she added.
Tim Chamberlain earned honourable mention in the Emily Carr 150 Poetry Contest for his poem Graveyard Entrance, Campbell River, 1912.
Barton and James Summer, Victoria’s outgoing youth poet laureate, served as judges for the competition and the winning poets received cash prizes, gift cards from Munro’s Books and swag bags filled with Carr-related items.
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